Monday, March 27, 2017


The sun be warm and kind
To you,
The darkest night, some star
Shine through,
The dullest morn
A radiance brew,
And when dusk comes –
God’s hand
To you.

published in Good Housekeeping magazine, 1932


Benediction  ©2017 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 x 1½ inches • acrylic on 1½" deep cradled Gessobord

After doing a little gardening first thing this morning, with Jo’s invaluable assistance ...

I spent a wonderfully quiet day at the easel finishing today’s painting, which was inspired by a photo I took at sunset on the first day of spring.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mishaps before coffee

A cheerful heart is good medicine ...


My husband wanted spaghetti for breakfast today (I know; we’ve never had a very strict definition for the term “breakfast food”) and I started making it before my coffee. I picked up the almost-new three-pound box by the wrong end and the entire contents slid out onto the floor. 

I stood frozen for a split second, empty spaghetti box in hand, looking down at the resulting sculpture (which brought to mind a game of Pick Up Sticks with approximately four million sticks) and just couldn’t help busting out laughing. Demonstrating almost unbelievable presence of mind since I hadn’t had a drop of coffee yet, and before the dogs realized what they were missing, I quickly and gingerly scooped up the whole sculpture – which was surprisingly cohesive – out of their reach. 

Took a lot longer getting it back into the box than it did getting it out.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Back to the studio!


Midwinter Hope II  © 2017 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 inches • acrylic on deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Duaringa, Queensland, Australia

Experimenting with opaque and transparent colors, and simplified shapes in a craftsman style illustration. It was so cold in my studio today, with only a little space heater to boost the warmth seeping in from the living room. For a while I thought it would make things a little more fun if I imagined it was 1905 and I was working in my little Parisian garrett in the dead of winter. 

But then I started craving an éclair with café au lait, so I took a break and went next door to warm my hands by the fire for a bit, surrounded by snoring dogs.

Here's the reference photo that inspired this painting, a beautiful Christmas day sunset:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Red River Revel recap ...

Burning Bright  ©2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 inches • oil on 1 ½ deep cradled GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective) • sides painted dark umber


 the original painting from my eBay store

here in my eBay store

The Red River Revel arts & music festival last week was full of good fun, food, music and art of all kinds, with beautiful weather all the way through the eight-day event (nine if you include the Preview Party on Friday night before the first official day).

This is my third year to be juried into the Revel, and ever since that first year my sister Kathy has come out every time to help. I look forward to the “sister time” as much as the Revel itself!

Kathy designed and built our display. (Note the “Joanna Gaines” dusty blue shiplap touch in our corner storage area.) My brother Alan did the lighting.

Meet Madyson, one of my collectors. Last year she got a big horse picture, and here she is with this year’s acquisition, “Birdwatching,” which she has renamed “Darla” because of the resemblance to their family’s barn cat. We had a very nice conversation about pets and art (she’s an artist, too) while I signed her art card. We also discussed horses, and she told me that for her recent fourth birthday she had a horse party. (I’m not sure whether it was a party with her friends that was horse-themed, or a party where horses were actually invited. Either one sounds fun.)

As she walked away with her family, she called back over her shoulder, “See you next year!”

I’m honored to be included in her collection.

One of my favorite things about the Revel: meeting new artist friends.  Ana Maria Andricain, who designs and makes beautiful jewelry, was one of our “tent-mates” this year. We really enjoyed getting to know her and her Dad, who was there helping her all week.

Fellow artist Chase Mullen was one of our Revel neighbors for the last two years. A wonderful Louisiana wildlife artist, here he is tending his booth, talking with his wife on the phone, and working on a painting one of his collectors had commissioned at the beginning of the week. Who says men can’t multi-task?

I love the look of the Revel at night!

Farewell, Revel! Hope to be there next year!

Monday, September 19, 2016

A teaser ...

... for what’s on my easel right now.

And yes, I’m painting this as a shameless and not-at-all-subtle marketing ploy targeting any LSU or Grambling (or Auburn perhaps?) alum and/or fans who may be prowling around the Red River Revel arts festival in a couple of weeks ...

And I’m having fun doing it, too!

Simple gifts

Early morning sun on my studio door.

A visual poem.


Friday, September 16, 2016

The mind of the illustrator: Scattered Showers

Scattered Showers  ©2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 inches (approx. 40x40 cm) • oil on 2" deep cradled (archival) GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective)
sides painted dark umber • can be easily displayed with or without a frame


Very often it happens that when I’m planning a composition (especially landscapes), my reference photo serves as a springboard rather than strictly a map. The paintings that result usually end up being the ones I like best when they’re finished. They’re definitely my favorites to paint! 

My reference photo for this painting was a composite of about three photos I took one day on the way to town. (And before you start yelling at me for taking photos while driving, it just so happens that – this time! – Paul was behind the wheel whilst I wielded my trusty Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

The main part that made me want to paint this was the billowy clouds. And I wanted a composition that would emphasize the sweep of the clouds up from the horizon. I exaggerated the curve of the road, the angle of the horizon and the height of the crest of the hill in the foreground to get the effect I wanted. 

It wasn’t my intention at the start to make the road into a dirt road, but by the time the underpainting was finished – and going totally against my own advice when I caution my students against falling so much in love with the underpainting that you don’t push the painting to an even more glorious destination – I had REALLY fallen hopelessly head over heels with all those great reds and oranges, so red Louisiana dirt the roads became. 

Hey, I think I just came up with a new maxim. Here, I’ll make it big and colorful and put it in italics so it has more authority:

Part of being an artist who also teaches art 
is knowing when to go against 
your own advice.